Going to College Archive

How Do I Remain Proactive in Identifying My “Best Fit”?

Take ownership of your process and hone in on these key action items

During my seven years as a Division I coach and seven years consulting with junior golfers and families in navigating junior golf, I can confidently say that a junior golfer’s success in the recruiting process hinges on his/her ability to take ownership of his college process. There are a number of key ways to remain proactive, and the following tips can positively impact the college recruiting process and your ability to identify a best-fit college(s).

  • Have the proper perspective – The recruiting process can be unpredictable and is certainly more of an art than a science. Understanding that there are varying levels of competitive opportunities at the collegiate level and that there is a corresponding place for everybody to play college golf is an important perspective to maintain throughout the recruiting process.
  • Take an inventory of your golf and academic abilities – Evaluate your current academic resume (GPA and SAT/ACT) and your future academic goals. Additionally, take an honest inventory of your tournament results and competitive experience. Finally, what is your commitment to both academics and golf? This honest self-evaluation will provide you the proper data points as you begin to target schools that match your academic and golf credentials.
  • Do your due diligence online – An essential aspect of being proactive is researching in depth your schools of interest. Use the Ping American Golf Guide (www.collegegolf.com), Golfstat (www.golfstat.com), and Junior Golf Scoreboard (www.njgs.com) as resources, as well as each respective university’s website. Pay particular attention to the scoring averages of the top five players. Ask yourself, if only five players travel, how would I potentially fit?
  • Email your information to your target list of schools – Once you have done your due diligence online, you can develop a preliminary list of schools. Send an introductory letter, golf and academic resumes, swing video, and upcoming tournament schedule to the golf coach at each target school. I also suggest you select a few “reach” schools as well as a few “safety” schools to complement your list of potential best-fit schools.
  • Visit campusesThere are two types of recruiting visits, "unofficial" and "official" visits. Unofficial visits to a college campus to meet with the golf coach are at the prospects own expense and are allowed September 1 of his/her junior year in high school and as long as it does not occur during a recruiting dead period. Official visits are paid for by the university and can last up to 48 hours. Prospects are allowed five such official visits during their junior or senior year in high school. These visits are one of the most important action items in the recruiting process. The opportunity to see interested campuses firsthand (preferably while classes are in session), meet the coaches and players, and tour the golf facilities is essential. Equally important is seeing other on-campus attractions, such as the dorms, recreation center, library, and dining areas. If you are unable to meet the coach during your visit, make sure to follow up with him via email to let him know you have seen the campus and surrounding area. Also, it is worth noting that a student is allowed to visit a campus anytime, but cannot, as mentioned above, meet with a coach or athletic department staff member until they begin their junior in high school.
  • Attend a college golf tournament – Observe how college coaches interact with their players, the level of competition among the players, and the overall atmosphere of a college golf event. Admission is free and the public is welcome. Go to (www.golfstat.com) or a local university’s website to find a tournament near you this fall and/or next spring.
  • Compete – Continue to compete in multiple-day tournament competition at the local, regional, and national levels. The level of competition you choose will depend on your abilities, age, and college ambitions. Multiple-day tournaments most closely simulate the college format and will provide coaches the necessary information to properly evaluate you as a prospective student-athlete.
  • Know the NCAA rules – Understanding the NCAA rules and regulations will allow you to confidently communicate with college coaches, as well as ensure you are meeting the necessary academic requirements to compete in college. Please visit The NCAA Eligibility Center.to familiarize yourself with the NCAA recruiting rules and eligibility requirements.
  • Promote yourself and continually revise your target list of schools – As you navigate through the recruiting process, it is imperative you continually evaluate your target list of schools to ensure they align both with your abilities and your college ambitions. If you are not getting the interest from specific coaches or schools, it may mean you need to broaden your scope of colleges/universities to include other regions of the country and/or less competitive programs. I would encourage you to also take a close look at Division II, Division III, and NAIA colleges/universities. Throughout the process you should consistently forward email updates and initiate phone calls to coaches regarding your golf and academic happenings, as well as commentary on how their respective teams are performing as a way to personalize your communication.

    In the recruiting world it is important to be positive, remain open to all possibilities, and be proactive. Remember, there is a place for everybody to play college golf. Utilize the aforementioned recommendations as you navigate your way to college golf.

    Good Luck!

    Email Coach Gleason

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